Watford secured all three points on Saturday afternoon against relegation-threatened Swansea City.
Etienne Capoue’s half-volley on the stroke of half-time proved to be enough as the Golden Boys reached the all-important 40-point mark.
Walter Mazzarri made three changes to his starting line-up as Troy Deeney, Capoue and Sebastian Prödl all returned to the side in place of Craig Cathcart (knee), Isaac Success and Stefano Okaka.
Valon Behrami made a welcome return to the bench and young Hornets Dion Pereira and Brandon Mason were also named as substitutes.
The Swans created the first real opening of the game as stand-in captain Gylfi Sigurdsson forced Heurelho Gomes into a smart stop, getting down quickly to his left to nudge wide.
Moments later they fashioned another good opening and should have really scored. Gomes punched clear but the ball looped up into Federico Fernández’s path and he headed over.
The Hornets had two long-range efforts in close succession as M’Baye Niang and Nordin Amrabat both tried their luck.
Lukasz Fabianski made a crucial challenge with 20 minutes on the clock as he raced out quickly to steal the ball from Deeney’s feet after Capoue had played the captain in.
The save of the game came midway through the half as Fabianski did superbly again to tip Deeney’s effort over the bar following fine build-up down the right-flank by Daryl Janmaat.
But with 42 minutes gone the Hornets were ahead. Capoue did superbly to dispossess Alfie Mawson on the edge of the box. The Frenchman raced in at goal and hit an initial shot which Fabianski saved. The rebound fell perfectly to the midfielder and he thrashed a first-time half-volley into the goal via the upright to hand his side the lead.
Sigurdsson came close early in the second-half as he shifted the ball onto his left-foot. His shot just drifted wide of the target and the Hornets survived.
It was so nearly another goal for the Hornets as Janmaat fired an absolute rocket at goal which Fabianski did well to punch away.
A minute later José Holebas found space out on the left and hit a powerful shot which just deflected wide for a corner.
Watford substitute Okaka almost made an instant impact as he chested down and hit a spectacular over-head kick into the back of the net. The assistant however had his flag raised for offside and the goal was chalked off.
In injury time the impressive Abdoulaye Doucouré made a fantastic last-ditch challenge to knock the ball away from Sigurdsson as he was clean through.
Watford held firm and secured a vital win ahead of next weekend’s trip to Hull City.
HORNETS: Gomes (GK); Janmaat, Prödl, Mariappa, Holebas; Cleverley (Behrami, 88), Doucouré, Capoue; Amrabat (Kabasele, 63), Deeney (c), Niang (Okaka, 77).
Subs not used: Pantilimon (GK), Mason, D Pereira, Success.
Goal: Capoue (42)
SWANS: Fabianski (GK); Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Narsingh (Borja, 58), Fulton (Carroll, 67), Fer, Ki, Sigurdsson (c); Llorente (Ayew, 81).
Subs not used: Nordfeldt (GK), Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Routledge.